In the semantic web everything is connected. There are two trends that are worth keeping in mind. First, the traditional compartmentalization of technology where the impact of developments was localized, is gone. Everything now runs on data. The ability to collect it, index it, contextualize it and use it is changing the value that every app, computer or connected device has.
Second, the way we work is changing. When the web becomes more transparent. When semantic connections require us to interlink (and benefit from) every piece of data we own, then our offline and online identities merge. Our marketing presence stops being about image and starts being about substance. Our content becomes part of the narrative we use to fashion a sense of who we are and what we do.
These two trends are omnipresent and they are accelerating. Their spread and impact becoming greater over time, which brings us to Hangouts for Business. Whether you use Google+ Hangouts to communicate with customers, talk to remote members of your team, hold training sessions or announce new products and services, the guiding principle is the same: you are leveraging the power of a visual connection and the appeal of talking to a person to create a shortcut to relationship building.
How Do Hangouts Help Build Relationships?
Studies show that 55% of all communication is non-verbal. Depending on the situation and the context the non-verbal communication may rise at times to as high as 90%.
Beyond the information that’s conveyed through facial expressions, gestures and body language, there is a whole lot of information that’s contained in the metalayers known as paralanguage (voice quality, rate, pitch, volume, and speaking style) and prosodic features (rhythm, intonation, and stress). These provide some of the clues we need to establish whether we’re ready, or not to trust somebody.
Trust is required for any relational exchange to take place between members that are not part of a family group or a tightly knit clan. The mechanism through which trust is formed is well known:
A working relationship requires trust in order to flourish and the mechanism through which trust is established runs on the amount of information that we can accurately convey each time we make contact with someone.
Working relationships can be established via other means of communication like email, content and even advertising but it takes a lot longer and the process is more laborious. Hangouts and Hangouts On Air (HOAs) on the other hand can create a shortcut by supplying the non-verbal elements of communication necessary to assess whether we trust someone or not and whether we want to have anything further to do with them.
In a Semantic Web Everything is Connected
A Hangout On Air has its own metalayer: the activity on the Event page, the engagement and who engaged with it, the comments, the sentiment of those comments and the length of each comment and the engagement and interaction within the comment graph. All of these are a signal which, when viewed, shows the importance of a Hangout On Air, its subject matter, the impact of the subject matter, the reception the Hangout had and whether it substantially added, or not to the conversation.
I can easily hold a Hangout On Air and title it “The Most Important Hangout On Air Ever” but unless I get engagement and interaction, plus ones and reshares, citations and mentions from the audience in G+ and engagement and reshares across the web from those who see it on YouTube, it is highly unlikely that Google will agree with my opinion of it.
In addition to the metalayer Google uses voice recognition technology (the same voice recognition technology that it uses on Voice Search and Google Now) to understand what is being said in a Hangout On Air and create a text file of it through speech-to-text software.
The Bottom Line
Although Hangouts are video they can now be used to help your SEO efforts. The semantic signals they send can help amplify brand impact and build brand equity. The ability to communicate with an audience at so many different levels at once creates a semantically dense environment. If Hangouts are not currently in your business toolbox, they definitely should be.